Back to square [zone] one…

Prompted by comments from one of our newer members, we’ve been looking at the way return journeys are handled by the TaxiMap price calculator… and we’re trying out some new developments…

Until now, when a user selected the Return? option on the map, we’d simply add an additional stop back at the point of origin. This has been a fairly elegant solution since it needed little extra programming and meant customers calculating multi-stop prices were not charged extra for returning through the initial way-points. However, this did not adequately account for zones or fixed prices.

Having put some considerable development thought in to it, we have come up with 3 options for handling return journeys. These options are currently in testing and will be available for TaxiMap users to select under Settings in their member profile as follows.

  • Return journey returns to origin and calculates price as if an additional leg (stop) of the journey (as before).
  • Return journey simply doubles the outbound price.
  • Return journey regards journey from destination back to origin as an independent journey and adds this price to the main journey price.

Whilst in testing, selecting these options only has an effect in the map-less version of the TaxiMap plugin.
TaxiMap 3.9.19b - Map Free Returns

Each option may result in different prices when a return is selected. Let’s take a brief look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

Additional Leg

This option is pretty much how TaxiMap has worked thus far. The disadvantage of this approach is that zone and/or fixed pricing is overlooked. For example, if a customer selects a return journey to an airport, any special zone pricing would not necessarily apply. This is because the airport would be the middle zone and thus not qualify for fixed pricing or ‘last zone entered‘ pricing. (Note; in some cases the ‘Highest priced zone entered‘ might still apply.)

However, this is probably the best option for taxi companies not making use of zones or fixed pricing.

Double Price

This is quite a simple solution. It uses all settings (including zones and fixed pricing) to calculate the price of the outbound journey, and then simply doubles it to calculate the price for the return journey.

With this option there would be no additional discount for extra mileage and, if the outbound journey made additional stops on route, this could lead to the customer being charged more than necessary.

Independent return calculation

In this scenario the return leg is considered as an independent journey and its price is added to the cost of the outbound journey.

The advantage of this is that any zone specific pricing – such as zone to zone fixed pricing –  can be applied to the return independently of the outbound journey.

Some variables, however, are omitted. For example, we do not apply the Standing Charge twice since we expect that only to be applied once to the overall journey. And the discount is calculated based on the overall distance including the return, again, since this is only one journey. Meet & greet is also omitted from the return leg since it would only be necessary if the outbound leg originated at an airport.

Summary

These new options are in testing and we hope they provide more flexibility (without too much confusion) to the TaxiMap system as a whole. As previously mentioned these settings are only currently effective for the latest map-free (beta) version of the plug (3.9.19b), but we expect to roll out this update to users shortly.

These options are now integrated with the latest version of the TaxiMap plugin (in Settings – v3  and later [3.9.19+])

If you’d like early access to test out these improvements, please drop us a line!